The number of astronauts who work on the International Space Station (ISS) has increased to 11. NASA noted that this is the largest number of scientists who have worked on the station in more than ten years. All astronauts representing the United States, Russia, Japan, and France gathered in one of the chambers to receive a congratulatory call from the leaders of their space agencies.
A redesigned SpaceX capsule with four astronauts on board arrived at the space station the day after launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon capsule docked independently to the orbital outpost at an altitude of more than 420 km above the Indian Ocean.
The new astronauts will replace the scientists who will return to Earth on April 28 to complete the six-month mission. NASA deliberately scheduled a short-term reconciliation so that the outgoing SpaceX crew could receive the new astronauts.
European Space Agency CEO Josef Aschbacher noted that the space station needs expansion as there are now many more astronauts on board.
How long astronauts will stay on the ISS, NASA will determine later. Dragon cannot be in orbit for more than four months: its solar panels are destroyed from a long stay in space. Upon return, the spacecraft will also undock automatically from the ISS. The Crew Dragon will splash down off the coast of Florida, where the astronauts will be picked up by a SpaceX vessel and taken to the Kennedy Space Center.